“The true work of art is born from the Artist: a mysterious, enigmatic, and mystical creation. It detaches itself from him, it acquires an autonomous life, becomes a personality, an independent subject, animated with a spiritual breath, the living subject of a real existence of being.” -Wassily Kandinsky
There is something particularly powerful about the act of creation. Ellen Bernstein, founder of the ecological group Shomrei Adamah, or “guardians of the earth” notes that creation binds all of us together- “Like the earth, the air, the waters, the flyers, the swimmers, the runners, (we) are all creatures of God- metaphorically if not literally…all part of God’s interwoven universe- each with a divine purpose which contributes to the perfection of the whole.
When children act as “creators” within the classroom, they, too, in their small way, take materials and transform them into something specific- a concept originating within themselves, which finds its expression in the completed work. At the Shaw Jewish Community Center, we often say that we are concerned as educators with the “process” rather than the “product.” We want children to “own” the experience and mediate it through their own lens. Process art is about the engagement, the exploration of techniques, tools, and materials, and the experimentation- there is no model for the children to follow.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has done significant research related to this topic and their studies show that processed-focused art has the following benefits for young children:
Social and Emotional : Children relax, focus, feel successful, and can express their feelings
Language and Literacy : Children may choose to discuss their art and add print to it (on their own or by dictating to a teacher)
Cognitive : Children compare, predict, plan, and problem solve.
Physical: Children use small motor skills to paint, write, glue, use clay, and make collages.”
We have spent a significant part of the school year adding items to the classrooms to help facilitate your children’s experiences in the art centers in our rooms. We hope you will take the time next week to come with your children Monday night from 6 to 7:00 p.m. for our artists’ reception in the main lobby, or throughout the remainder of the week for our continued art sale, and see the fruits of their creation, in all their diversity, each of which has clearly contributed to the perfection of the whole!